Is SAP S/4HANA ready for you as a customer?

Is SAP S4HANA ready for you as a customer

SAP’s initial announcement and first few years of marketing for S/4HANA was incredibly optimistic, with the company boldly declaring that it would dominate the database market and oust Oracle, it even went so far at one point to say that ‘there was going to be no innovation in SAP outside of HANA and S/4HANA’.

But with slow sales and marketplace doubt in S/4HANA’s ability to deliver on its marketing claims, SAP agreed to extend its support for non-S/4HANA products from 2019 to 2025, setting a hard (and supposedly final) deadline on when its customers needed to migrate.

Is S/4HANA a good fit for your organisation?

Even with the hard deadline, customers have remained reluctant to switch to S/4HANA with claims that the product is not yet suitable for customer’s systems, specifically that it is:

  • Poorly designed for specific use-cases (which all organisations have), and
  • Requires increased administration time and costs to maintain and run compared to SAP’s now ‘legacy’ versions

With five years to go, what are SAP doing?

Sticking to the deadline, so far

In an interview with CNBC, CEO Bill McDermott stated that SAP plans to triple its cloud business by 2023. This claim is surprising, given SAP’s performance in the Cloud marketplace so far.

That’s why we think this is another attempt to encourage the market to believe in the deadline and ‘join the bandwagon’ of customers migrating to S/4HANA.

But is this enough to convince IT leaders to jump to a product that doesn’t fit their needs?

Restructuring their business

SAP said in January that around 4,400 people would leave or be moved as part of a restructuring, including the leaders of the original HANA team and a number of their development team members.

Various analysts and IT leaders have been speculating that this is part of a fundamental shift in strategy for HANA as they explore potential open-source solutions and expand their products beyond S/4HANA:

“The restructuring around HANA and ABAP, coupled with work around SAP Cloud Platform and Cloud Foundry technologies, for example, could suggest SAP is opening up to alternate databases and open-source platforms as part of its wider cloud strategy.”

Mathias Golombek, CTO of database firm Exasol

This shift would enhance and diversify their own offering under pressure that S/4HANA isn’t up to scratch for big data and enterprise type scenarios that it has been marketing itself for.

While this is good news for SAP, it still doesn’t address the problems that are preventing current customers from moving to their systems – it just opens new customer opportunities for SAP’s sales team.

What does this mean for you?

While SAP are making changes to address some issues with the product, we think it is too little too late and that they will be forced to move or abandon their 2025 deadline. This is especially true as they are doing little to convince customers as to why they should move apart from their usual arguments of ‘we told you to’ and ‘your competitors are probably going to’.

But even if SAP sticks to their 2025 deadline, should you feel forced into the upgrade? What would happen if you just ignored it?

Because you own your licences to your SAP products, they will not be taken away or lose functionality after 2025. The only difference is that SAP will no longer support you. This means you will instead have to either support your products yourself in-house or use a third-party like Support Revolution.

Support Revolution provides third-party support for SAP. We will cut your current SAP support bill in half (at least), all whilst providing a superior quality of support for your current SAP setup. We support all product versions and customisations, with no cut-off dates.

Interested? Click the link below to download our white paper on how our service works, why you should leave SAP support, and how to transition to a third-party support provider.